Have a Blessed and Safe Thanksgiving.
Proverbs 31:10-13, 19-21, 30-31; Ps 128:1-5; 1 Thes 5:1-6; Mt 25:14-15, 19-21
Now, at the next to the last Sunday of our church year, we look at the rewards we can expect from our good works in the kingdom of God. Flowing from the thrones of our Father and Jesus in heaven are rivers of “living water,” Revelation 22:1-2.
The saints in heaven are enjoying their rewards from the good works they spread in helping others while on earth. We call these the physical and spiritual works of mercy.
We are God’s fruit trees here on earth and can bear good fruit each month through our good works that help others. The living water from heaven comes down to us on earth in streams of divine power (grace) in the sacraments and our daily prayer life. By these means we receive more divine power (grace) to grow in virtue (doing our daily duty as men and women of God and helping others). Our fruit moves more in the realm of using the natural talents we were born with and the divine power we received from the various sacraments of Christ’s church. That divine sacramental power helps us perform good works.
The industrious wife
The woman in the first reading was a good and industrious wife performing her normal duties as a loving wife and mother, helping others as time permitted. The husband is mentioned only in verse 10: “Her husband, entrusting his heart to her, has an unfailing prize.” It doesn’t mention his duties as a loving husband and his duties as the “bread winner,” and helping raise their children. Psalm 128 affirms the blessings of good loving parents.
The gospel speaks about a well-to-do man who went on a journey. He entrusted the care of his property to his servants. A talent then was equivalent to a yearly wage. The servants, according to their abilities, were given five, two and one talent. The industrious ones used their money to make more with it. The man with only one year’s wage, buried it in fear of his master. After a long absence the owner came back to see what his servants had done with his money. The first two were rewarded richly for their creative investments. The last man, fearing his master, received no reward. In fact, he lost what he was given, lost his job and was thrown out into the darkness.
Developing our talents
What can we learn from this story? When we were created by our parents, we all received certain talents and abilities from our parental ancestral line, a genetic code, if you will. When we are older, and as we become aware of our tendencies and talents, we can develop them and be successful. As adults we shall have we have responsibilities as parents and employees getting the means to live life successfully. Our abilities can grow.
We all have a mission to accomplish on earth. With baptism and the other sacraments, we receive grace or divine power to accomplish what God want us to do here on earth. We can make the world a better place to live in or a worse place. We make the choices frequently. God offers us many good graces, those fruits from our life in God’s kingdom.
Let us begin
The way we develop and become holy and virtuous in life here will determine our reward in heaven. The more we can grow and understand, the more we can impact the world around us at home and beyond for much good. St. Francis of Assisi often encouraged his brother: “let brothers, “Let us begin brothers, until now we have done little.” With these readings and the graces we receive from this Sunday’s liturgy, may we grow beautifully this week and bear more fruit for the kingdom of God.
May this Thanksgiving with family and friends bring us great blessings this week and beyond to do more to spread God’s love. You might want to invite some poor to join you at your table. I am praying that you and yours will have a safe and productive Thanksgiving this year.
+ Fr. Bob Hilz
(© 2017 Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR)